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EghtesadOnline: Iran's crude oil production rose by 50,200 barrels per day in January over the previous month, reaching 3.75 million bpd, OPEC said in its monthly report on Monday, citing secondary sources.

The figure indicates that Iran is pumping within the limits of an OPEC agreement signed last year to cut down the group's collective output by 1.2 million barrels a day through the first half of this year. 

Iran's Oil Ministry told OPEC that it pumped 3.9 million bpd in January, down 90,000 barrels compared to December. Under the agreement, Tehran's crude output in the six-month period should not exceed an average of 3.8 million barrels.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries uses two sets of data to calculate each member's production: data by secondary sources, which include industry media, and figures provided by the governments, Financial Tribune reported.

The group is taking secondary sources data as the point of reference to determine how much each country is producing. But this has been a bone of contention among producers, as some nations such as Iraq argue that government data should be used as the baseline for the accord. 

However in this case, the numbers are in favor of Tehran, as there is a 145,000-barrel difference between official and secondary sources data in the country's January production level.

According to the sources, OPEC's production in January decreased by 890,000 bpd compared to the previous month to average 32.14 million bpd. Production decreased the most in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE, while Nigeria and Libya raised output.

Iran is the third largest OPEC producer behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq which produced 9.94 million bpd and 4.47 million bpd respectively in January, OPEC's calculations showed.

Data submitted by the Saudi government showed the kingdom reduced output by 717,600 bpd in January to 9.74 million bpd, the most cuts in more than eight years.

------- Bullish Prices

Iran Heavy, the country's main export grade gained 1% in January compared to the previous month, trading at $51.9 per barrel, according to the report.

This is in line with government data that show the country has sold crude above $50 per barrel since the beginning of the year. The Oil Ministry reported last week that Iran's light crude settled just above $53 per barrel in the week to Feb. 3.

On a monthly basis, OPEC's basket of 13 crudes rose 1.4% in January to average $52.40 per barrel. Year-on-year, OPEC's basket price was significantly higher in January, up 98% or $25.90.

Values for the multiple region destination grades–Arab Light, Basrah Light, Iran Heavy and Kuwait Export–increased 1.1% to average $51.83 a barrel in January, supported by strong demand in Asia and Europe.

Oil prices have drawn support from OPEC's supply cut deal that was also backed by some outside producers who pledged to add 600,000 barrels to daily cuts. 

International crude benchmark Brent has climbed around 20% since OPEC announced its historic deal on Nov. 30. Reports on high level of compliance with the cuts have also helped prices to maintain their bullish trend.

According to Paris-based International Energy Agency, OPEC producers fulfilled 90% of their promised cuts in January, while estimates by OPEC's secondary sources put compliance at 92%.

Opec oil output Iran oil